New York Water Science Center

Ecosystem Health

Ecological assessments are a central focus of multidisciplinary projects and programs managed by the NYWSC and managed in cooperation with the water and soil chemistry laboratory as well as other Federal, State, county, and city agencies, academia, and nongovernmental organizations in New York and nationwide. The NYWSC studies the condition of aquatic communities to assess the effects of various manmade and natural stressors and of resource management practices on the aquatic ecosystems and environments in the State and nationwide and in cooperation with a wide array of partners and monitors climate change indicators to identify trends and data gaps for indicators of climate and habitat change. Specific studies include the effects of forest harvesting on the health of ecosystems at headwaters, the influence of remediation of watersheds on ecosystem health, and the interactions between urban landscapes and ecosystem health.

Filter Total Items: 89
Date published: August 13, 2015
Status: Active

Estimating Loading Above and Below Agricultural Best Management Practices (BMPs) and Combined Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) in the Genesee River Watershed

The current information available for the Genesee River and watershed is insufficient to assess if the Beneficial Use Impairment (BUI) delisting criteria for the Rochester Embayment Area of Concern (AOC) can or have been met. With on-going and future projects that are implementing best practices to control soil erosion and the reduction of nutrients that reach the Rochester Embayment, the...

Contacts: Brett Hayhurst
Date published: August 13, 2015
Status: Active

Use of telemetry to assess potential effects of Schoharie Reservoir waters on trout populations in the Upper Esopus Creek

Background - Turbid waters originating in the Schoharie Reservoir allegedly impair habitat and resident trout populations in Upper Esopus Creek; however, to date no scientific studies have documented adverse affects of altered thermal, suspended sediment (turbidity), and flow regimes on survival, growth, or behavior of trout or the health of their populations. The 424 mi2 Esopus Creek...

Contacts: Barry P Baldigo
Date published: August 13, 2015
Status: Active

Quantitative assessment of water quality in the Upper Esopus Creek using fatty acid content of periphyton

Problem - The Esopus Creek is located in the Catskill Mountains of New York State and is part of the New York City (NYC) drinking water supply system. The basin was dammed in 1915 to form the Ashokan Reservoir splitting the creek into Upper (upstream of the reservoir) and Lower segments. The Schoharie Reservoir, located 27 miles north of the Ashokan Reservoir, supplies water to Upper Esopus...

Date published: August 13, 2015
Status: Active

Didymosphenia geminata in the Upper Esopus Creek: Seasonal changes in density and distribution, controlling environmental factors, and potential ecosystem impacts

Background The invasive diatom Didymosphenia geminata (didymo) has historically been a wide-spread, but rare, micro algae found in moderately flowing cold-water streams of North America, Europe, Asia, and (more recently) New Zealand. Demographic patterns of didymo have recently changed resulting in greater spatial coverage and temporal persistence (e.g. blooms) in streams worldwide. Didymo...

Date published: August 13, 2015
Status: Active

Effects of recreational flow releases on natural resources of the Indian and Hudson Rivers

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) is developing a unit management plan/environmental impact statement (UMP/EIS) for the Hudson Gorge Primitive Area, an area of Forest Preserve land encompassing a scenic stretch of the Hudson River in the Adirondack Park. Two goals of the UMP/EIS are to inventory natural resources and ecosystems and take actions to protect...

Contacts: Barry P Baldigo
Date published: August 12, 2015
Status: Active

Identifying Thermal Refuges in the Schoharie Watershed

Problem Water temperature is a critical component of trout habitat. Stream temperatures not only affect the distribution, behavior, and survival of trout (and other species), but also compel these species to move toward small areas of preferred temperatures, known as refuges, to maximize growth, survival, and fitness. The Schoharie watershed in the Catskill Mountains, including East Kill, West...

Date published: August 12, 2015
Status: Active

Monitoring of Waterways for Mosquito Insecticides, Suffolk County, New York

Introduction Mosquitoes are the principle vector of the West Nile Virus (WNV) which causes infections in humans and animals and has emerged as a public health threat throughout Long Island, NY. The WNV was first detected among birds and mosquitoes by the Suffolk County Department of Health Services (SCDHS) in 2000. In response to the public health concern, the USGS in cooperation with the SC...

Date published: August 12, 2015
Status: Active

Long-Term Monitoring of Buck Creek Watershed in the Western Adirondack Region of New York

Monitoring of lake chemistry in the western Adirondack region has indicated reductions in the acidity of these lakes during the past two decades. However, lakes are not always reliable indicators of streams and soils. Uncertainty remains regarding the recovery potential of surface waters and the effects of acidic deposition on soils. Furthermore, nitrogen, long considered a growth-limiting...

Date published: August 11, 2015
Status: Active

Spatiotemporal trends in fish assemblages of the Mohawk River

Problem The mainstem of the Mohawk River extends from Lake Delta Dam near Rome, NY downstream to its confluence with the Hudson River near Cohoes, NY. It supports a diverse fishery that is used extensively by recreational anglers. Smallmouth bass (Micropterus dolomieu) and walleye (Sander vitreus) are among the most popular game species with anglers but past biological surveys have...

Contacts: Barry P Baldigo, Scott George, Scott Wells
Date published: August 11, 2015
Status: Active

An Assessment of Forest Health and Soil Nutrient Status to Determine the Effects of Logging Practices on Water Quality in New York City's West-of-Hudson Watersheds

The growth of temperate forests is typically limited by the availability of nitrogen. Elevated concentrations of nitrate in some Catskill Mountain streams, which are tributary to New York City's water-supply reservoirs west of the Hudson River, indicate that the forests of this region are at the early stages of nitrogen saturation. That is, nitrogen is available in excess of the amount utili...

Date published: August 11, 2015
Status: Active

An Integrated Assessment of the Recovery of Surface Waters from Reduced Levels of Acid Precipitation in the Catskill and Adirondack Regions, New York

Problem - Acidic precipitation has affected forested and aquatic ecosystems in New York, particularly in the Adirondack and Catskill regions. Acidification of surface waters and deleterious effects on fish and other biota have been well documented in both these regions. Despite reduced levels of acidity in atmospheric deposition over the past 20 years across New York and the northeastern Uni...

Contacts: Douglas A Burns
Date published: August 11, 2015
Status: Active

Sediment Toxicity and Condition of Benthic Invertebrate Communities in the Rochester Embayment Area-of-Concern

Background Heavy metals, phosphorus, and organic contaminants in water and sediments of the lower Genesee River, resulted in the designation of fourteen beneficial uses as impaired in the Rochester Embayment Area of Concern (AOC). The benthic macroinvertebrate community or “benthos” Beneficial Use Impairment (BUI) was designated as degraded in the Genesee River because the New York State...

Contacts: Barry P Baldigo, Brian Duffy